Job Interview

An interviewer (James Pooley) is sitting at a desk. The applicant, Mr Smith (James Bachman), enters.
InterviewerCome in, sit down. So, you'd like to be a television newsreader!
Smith(Holds his hand up to his ear and looks down slightly to the left) Yes, that's right... m-hm... m-hm...
Interviewer(Hasn't noticed, he's been reading his papers) ... Mr... uhhh... Smith.
InterviewerI beg your pardon?
SmithGlowpigeon, it's pronounced "Glowpigeon".
Interviewer(Indicating sheet) It says here, "Smith".
Smith(Knowing smile) Yes, it's a common mistake. The "S" is silent.
InterviewerThe "S" is silent.
SmithNo, the "S" is silent, and the M-I-T-H is pronounced "Glow-pi-ge-on". It's from the ancient Aramaic.
Interviewer gives him a funny look but accepts this.
InterviewerWell, Mr... Glowpigeon. The selection panel has looked over your application and frankly, they feel you're the best person for the job.
SmithThank you very much.
InterviewerPrevious experience on British and Aramaic television... three years with Radio 4... BAFTA award for Best Smiley Teeth in a News Bulletin... all most impressive.
SmithThank you.
InterviewerThere's just one thing... your first name.
SmithMy first name? What's wrong with it?
InterviewerWell, most people don't expect newsreaders of the name "Tarzan".
InterviewerSurely it's not your real name.
Smith(Indignant) Well of course it's my real name!
InterviewerCome now, you don't expect me to believe that any normal-minded parents would name their son "Tarzan Smith"...
InterviewerTarzan Glowpigeon...
SmithWell of course they didn't christen me "Tarzan"...
InterviewerWhat did they christen you then?
SmithJohnny Weissmuller Glowpigeon.
Interviewer(Uncomfortably) Ah...
SmithSo you see the "Tarzan" was a convenient childhood name.
InterviewerIt's a nickname then, it's not your real name at all!
SmithIt is!... I had it legally changed by deed poll.
Interviewer(Sarcastic) Oh, great.
Smith(Indignant) Look, I don't see the problem. The name Tarzan is bound to attract the discerning jungle viewer.
InterviewerI just think you'd do better in the newsreadering trade with a pseudonym of some sort.
SmithYou want me to abandon the family name? Never!
InterviewerYou need not go that far... if you just pronounced your surname "Smith" instead of "Glowpigeon", and used your old first name, you'd be perfectly acceptable.
SmithWhat... "John Smith".
InterviewerA touch unoriginal, I admit, but at least completely uncontroversial.
Smith... How about "Cheetah Luminousbird"?
InterviewerYeah orright.
SmithGreat. When do I start?
InterviewerAbout three seconds from now?
Smith starts reading the news; interviewer goes offstage.
SmithGood evening, Jane Shiningfowl with the late news. (Looks at watch.) Oh my God, is that the time? (Runs offstage. Cut lights.)

1988, 1992

First performed by Three Men and a Penguin at the ADC Theatre, Cambridge, April-May 1992.
This page: 12 February 2000; last modified 16 February 2001.

©1992, 2000 Rory Ewins